- The Michelin-star chef and filmmaker shares space with some of his mentors like Anthony Bourdain and Gordon Ramsay.
Michelin-star chef and filmmaker Vikas Khanna is among Gazette Review’s ‘Top 10 Chefs in the World,’ for becoming an international icon by opening restaurants and building his brand. “These chefs spend their entire lifetimes opening restaurants and building their brands,” the publication says. “As a result, these chefs have become international icons and are respected by even those with a casual interest in food.” The list includes celebrated chefs like the late Anthony Bourdain, Gordon Ramsay, Alain Ducasse, Emeril Lagasse, and Wolfgang Puck, among others.
Khanna took to his social media handles to acknowledge the honor. “I’m humbled to be in the list of Top 10 Chefs In The World,” he wrote. “Humbled to be in the company of some of my mentors.”
One of the first Indian chefs to receive international acclaim, Khanna started his first restaurant, Junoon, in New York City in 2010 which got its first Michelin star the following year and went on to acquire many more. He has hosted events for former president Barack Obama, His Holiness the Dalai Lama, Pope Francis, Narendra Modi, and many other world leaders and celebrities. He is the goodwill ambassador for the Smile Foundation and supports the cause of fighting malnutrition in India.
More recently when India underwent a strict lockdown due to the Coronavirus pandemic in 2020, the New York City-based chef took it upon himself to help the needy and poor in India through his Feed India initiative which was a success.
In 2015, he became the first chef to launch his book “Utsav: A Culinary Epic of Indian Festivals” at Cannes. He also directed a documentary called “Kitchens of Gratitude” at the renowned film festival and produced a documentary series “Holy Kitchens,” which explores the bond between faith and food. In his latest book titled “Barkat,” he shares his personal journey, from spending his childhood days in Amritsar to becoming one of the most beloved Indian chefs in the world.
In 2020, Khanna made his directorial debut “The Last Color.” Set in the ancient Indian city of Varanasi, the film follows the life of a 70-year-old widow Noor, played by actor Neena Gupta, and her special bond with 9-year old Chhoti (Aqsa Siddiqui), a homeless girl who aspires to go to school and makes ends meet by performing stunts as tight-rope walking and selling flowers. Last year, he directed “Barefoot Empress,” about a 96-year-old woman in a Kerala village, who pursued her dreams of going to school.